Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Blogs as a Student Centred technology

There is no doubt that the use of blogs within the classroom is an effective student centered tool that, through the use of technology, allows them to take ownership of their learning journey in an engaging way. When saying this I reflect on my own journey throughout this course, as I am for now, a student myself.

I have mentioned in an earlier post the opportunities available to teachers implementing this tool within their classroom. It allows them to post resources (images, reading activities), lessons and set homework activities around a particular theme, and with the use of an RSS aggregator/reader they can keep track of how their students are progressing from a central location.

For contemporary learners there are many advantages, in particular the ability to develop literacy skills. I know myself that I am especially cautious when the whole world can view my posts. This opens a new domain and the appropriate use of online communication (netiquette) needs to be addressed and incorporated into learning experiences, as well as internet safety issues. Kearsley and Schneiderman (1999) state that 'technology can facilitate engagement in ways which are difficult to achieve otherwise' and blogs are a fantastic way to achieve this. Students also benefit from the use of blogs by providing them with:
  • meaningful and authentic learning experiences
  • promote higher order thinking and lifelong learning
  • a collaborative learning environment
  • a place for reflection
Due to time restraints, I have not had the opportunity to introduce my grade 1 students to blogs, however I look forward to exploring this tool with them in the near future. The effective use of blogs within the classroom certainly rests with the Learning Manager and when planning learning experiences the following key questions need to be addressed:
  • Is ICT the best way of delivering a concept?
  • Is there an easier way to get the same result?
  • Am I doing this just to use ICT or is there a real learning opportunity here?
(Smith, Lynch & Knight, 2007)

Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from

Smith, R., Lynch, D., & Knight, B. (2007). Learning management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change. Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson.

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